Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Psychology

Abstract

The current research investigated how contact, knowledge, and attitudes affect individual’s perceptions of warmth and competence traits in individuals with either intellectual or physical disabilities. We hypothesized that individuals with more quality and quantity of contact as well as more knowledge of individuals with disabilities would be less likely to perceive homogeneity in those with disabilities. Results indicated that participants perceived greater similarity of warmth and competence traits in individuals with physical disabilities and greater similarity of warmth traits in individuals with intellectual disabilities. We found that individuals with greater quality of contact were less likely to perceive similarity of competence traits in those with physical disabilities and that individuals who had greater quantity of contact were more likely to perceive similarity of warmth traits in individuals with intellectual disabilities. This research is important because of the correlation between contact and perceptions of similarity of those with disabilities. This research is supportive of integrating those with disabilities into several different social, educational and work settings that could lead to more positive and high-quality contact with those who do not have a disability.

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